Dark Places 

 

 

 

Charlize Theron both stars in and produces this lacklustre crime thriller based 

on Gillian Flynn's novel.

 

David Fincher’s hugely successful film Gone Girl was adapted from Gillian Flynn’s novel and it is not surprising that Charlize Theron has chosen Flynn’s follow-up title in which to star. She plays Libby Day, a fiercely independent woman who believes that she has left her childhood nightmares behind after her mother and sisters were brutally murdered in their small Kansas hometown thirty years earlier. Based on her testimony when she was only seven-years-old, her brother Ben was sentenced, but now she is asked to re-live those dark moments when Lyle Wirth (Nicholas Hoult) pays her to attend a group meeting for The Kill Club...

 

Dark Places

Tilling the past: Charlize Theron

 

The modern day sequences are continually interrupted by flashbacks as Libby is forced to piece together the puzzle of what really happened on that night. This fragmented style is frustrating, particularly as the earlier sequences are inevitably much more interesting. Christina Hendricks, almost unrecognisable without her trademark red hair, is excellent as the vulnerable mother who tries hard to make ends meet and support her three daughters and son Ben (Tye Sheridan). Sheridan shares a strong chemistry with Chloë Grace Moretz as wild girl Diondra, Ben’s secret girlfriend. French filmmaker Gilles Paquet-Brenner, the award-winning director of Sarah’s Key, directs with efficiency but his stuttering screenplay lacks pace and urgency.  I also found the final revelation hard to believe.

 

GEORGE SAVVIDES

 

Cast: Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Christina Hendricks, Chloë Grace Moretz, Tye Sheridan, Sterling Jerins, Corey Stoll, Sean Bridgers, Drea de Matteo.
 
Dir Gilles Paquet-Brenner, Pro Stéphane Marsil, Azim Bolkiah, Matthew Rhodes, Cathy Schulman and Charlize Theron, Screenplay Gilles Paquet-Brenner, Ph Barry Ackroyd, Pro Des Laurence Bennett, Ed Douglas Crise and Billy Fox, Music BT and Gregory Tripi, Costumes April Napier.
 
Exclusive Media Group/Mandalay Pictures-Entertainment One.
112 mins. USA/UK/France. 2015. Rel: 22 January 2016. Cert. 15.